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Chasseguet-Smirgel, J. (2000). An Attempt to Reply to the “Brave Editors”. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 9(3):323-330.

(2000). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 9(3):323-330

Response to the Symposium

An Attempt to Reply to the “Brave Editors”

Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, Ph.D.

The patient is a man who was 37 when he first came to see me. Handsome and well-groomed, he is married and has two children. He complains that he has inhibitions preventing him from doing what he would like to do, which is to pursue an intellectual profession that his academic background in literature should have allowed him to undertake. He is successful in his present profession which permits him to earn a comfortable living although he is prepared to change this for a less comfortable one provided that he might work in the field of his choice. He is also often depressed.

His history is the following. His mother entered the Resistance and fell in love with an important member of it. She was pregnant when he was arrested and jailed. This was in 1944, after the landing of the allied forces. She was in a part of France already liberated by the British army, close to the town where the father of her child was imprisoned. She was informed by the Resistance that her lover was about to be deported to Germany. She went to British headquarters and implored the military authorities to bomb the railway. But the British did not do anything to prevent the departure of the train to Buchenwald, and her lover never returned. The child was named Fabrice after one of Stendhal's characters. Following the end of the war, she married another Resistance figure, although he was less renowned than the dead hero.

They had a first child who died shortly after birth (a boy). Soon another son was born to them, followed by my patient. When the patient was one month old, the second child died. The patient has two brothers, respectively, two and five years younger.

He has been in analysis with me for more than six years. The material evoked has been rather impoverished, contrasting markedly with his intellectual level.

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